Colin Turkington admits he has been left stunned after securing a record-equalling fourth Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship title in a dramatic final race of the season at Brands Hatch this past weekend.
On what is set to go down as one of the most memorable finales in history, the Team BMW driver overcame the odds in sensational fashion to retain the biggest prize in UK motorsport by just two points.
Entering the weekend holding a 16-point lead, Turkington was in superlative form behind the wheel of his WSR-built BMW 330i M Sport during Saturday’s qualifying session to clinch pole position; and the all-important bonus point that comes with it.
Seeing his advantage cut after a battling opening encounter around the Grand Prix layout of the Kent venue, the Northern Irishman’s world came crashing down around him in race two following contact with Matt Neal which tumbled him down the order and out of the points.
Trailing Dan Cammish by eight points and starting 25th on the grid for the final contest, Turkington produced what he described the race of his life to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Carving his way through the field, progressing ten spots on the opening lap alone, the 37-year-old fought his past Cammish and then Ollie Jackson to begin closing the gap to the top of the standings.
However, with less than two laps to go Cammish speared off at Hawthorns Bend after suffering a brake failure at high speed – ending his race and championship challenge on the spot.
With Cammish out, Turkington moved back to the summit of the championship and crossed the line to become a four-time champion; drawing level with Andy Rouse and becoming the first person since Rouse to win back-to-back titles in different cars.
“I can’t believe what has happened!” Turkington said. “It was just shock when I crossed the line and they told me that I was champion. I knew that Dan was out of the race but I couldn’t see Andy (Jordan) and didn’t know where he was – that was the race of my life!
“After race two I felt my chances were over given that we were starting at the back and had eight points to make up. I didn’t give up, the team didn’t give up and I am just stunned. It is a bitter pill for those guys and they gave me one hell of a fight.
“When I won last year I won it in race two, when I won in 2014 I won in race one, 2009 was obviously a big final but like I said I couldn’t see Andy so it was just a shock when I crossed the line. This is the first year with this car and it has been brilliant all year. We’ve had our ups and downs but we never stopped fighting.
“To match Andy Rouse’s record of four titles is obviously really cool too. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would get close to that, you don’t really think too much about records.
“All I wanted to do was win this year. It is like a drug; I was chasing that feeling that can’t be replicated when you’re stood on that champions podium and soaking up everything up – four titles, wow!”